No mobile masts near schools

A Health Ministry decision, yet to be made public, dictates that mobile phone aerials should not be erected within 500 meters of school buildings due to health concerns, Kathimerini has learned. The decision elaborates upon a law passed earlier this year – keeping mobile aerials at least 300 meters from schools – and is in direct objection to a Transport Ministry bill that foresees the lifting of such restrictions. According to the Health Ministry, there should be at least 500 meters between schools and mobile phone masts and other potential health risks, such as high-voltage electricity pylons. This distance can be reduced to 200 meters in densely populated urban areas. Deputy Health Minister Thanassis Yiannopoulos, answering a question submitted in Parliament by two PASOK deputies yesterday, clarified that the ministry would support amendments to existing legislation offering further guarantees for public health. However, sources told Kathimerini that senior Health Ministry officials are extremely displeased with the Transport Ministry for drafting a bill relating to mobile phone aerials without consulting them. The bill in question «is attempting to impose the interests of the mobile phone firm cartel and to bypass legal barriers and the reactions of citizens and local authorities,» Costas Diakos, a lawyer representing protesting Attica citizens and municipalities, told Kathimerini. According to the four main mobile phone firms operating in Greece, the restrictions imposed on Greek firms are significantly stricter than in other European countries.